Chelsea star Pedro has admitted that the loss of Diego Costa in the upcoming transfer window would be a big loss for Antonio Conte's new side, amid recurrent reports linking the striker with a return to Atletico Madrid. Pedro's comments come just days after Cadena Cope reported that Diego Simeone had called the Premier League bad boy to convince him to come back to the Vicente Calderon in a deal worth up to €50m (£39.3m, $56.7m).
The 27-year-old number nine moved to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2014 after then Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho paid £32m for his signature. Costa has scored 36 goals in 78 appearances for the Blues, but his long-term future in the Premier League has oft been scrutinised due to his struggles to adapt to life in London.
The Chelsea star did little to quash those rumours in December last year, when he admitted he would be open to following in the footsteps of Filipe Luis, who returned to Atletico Madrid after only a season with Chelsea.
"You never know – look where Filipe Luis is now. Life is full of surprises," Costa said. "I always wish Atletico the best and I always follow them, I support them from afar."
Atletico confirmed their intentions at the time to re-sign Costa, but in April club president Enrique Cerezo called his purchase" "almost impossible" – amid reports Conte had identified the striker as a key part of his Stamford Bridge project.
But Cope reported at the weekend that Atletico were gearing up for one last desperate attempt to sign Costa, after Simeone told club officials he could leave the Vicente Calderon if he does not get top names in the upcoming mercato. The story added that Simeone had already called Costa to discuss his intentions, while both Filipe Luis and club captain Gabi are expected to do the same in coming days to convince him to make the leap.
Atletico officials, according to the report, would be happy to pay €50m to tempt Chelsea into letting the attacker go, a deal that would see the Blues make a €10m profit from the player.
However, Pedro has now expressed his hopes that Costa will stay at Chelsea, despite his future being far from certain.
"We do not know but he would be a very important loss for us, we want him to stay. Let's see what happens with him," Pedro said during an interview with Mundo Deportivo.
Costa is said to be unhappy with the treatment he has received from English journalists, officials and the FA due to his competitive character.
But Pedro said: "No [he is not an aggressive player]. There is a lot of contact in the Premier League, it is very strong and there are always rifts between [the forwards] and the defenders. Diego has some issues [with other players] because of his character but off the pitch he is a nice and quiet guy."